When I was a kid, my father began a very cool tradition for my birthday. I’m a July baby, which made me a Cancer–the sign associated with the crab–so every year we would go to a restaurant, called Sidewalkers, where they served a Maryland-style crab-bash. If you don’t know what a Maryland-style crab-bash is, you’re missing out. Basically you sit at a table covered with brown paper, then they dump a whole bunch of seasoned crabs in the center of a table (bibs are recommended). You are armed with a mallet, cracker and small fork and then you go at it.
The last time I celebrated my birthday in this way was 1997. It was the last time my Dad was alive for my birthday. I was 22. The morning after that celebration–about twelve hours later–he had a seizure caused by a brain tumor that he didn’t know he had and he passed away just eleven weeks later. It was the last celebration I had with him before everything changed and was the end of my birthday crab-bash tradition. That was fifteen years ago.